Lessons from A.R.Rahman

28 Feb

If you pick up any newspaper or see the web or watch the news, chances are that you will find an interview of  A.R.Rahman. He is all over the place after his Oscar achievement and very deservedly so! I have been seeing videos of his arrival back to India and his press conferences and what strikes me is that apart from being a path-breaking musician, Rahman is handling the Oscar accolades in the most amazing manner. Here is what makes me adore him:

  1. His Divine Connection -If you saw the Academy award and the Oscar award speeches of Rahman, you would see that Rahman thanks and praises God, conveying his gratitude to the Almighty! As Baradwaj Rangan said, its not just a superficial expression from Rahman but its a connection he has tuned into ever since his Roja days when he was establishing himself as a composer. His adversities during his younger days made him turn towards God and from that time, there was no looking back for this genius! He is a strong believer in the power of prayer and it HAS worked miracles for him indeed!
  2. His Patriotism-Though Rahman acknowledges his accomplishment, he quickly points out that this is a COLLECTIVE INDIAN VICTORY. He says, he is more happy because this is the first Oscar for an Indian work and the whole country was waiting for this with bated breath and hence he wanted to get it. He says now, all Indian artists will be looked upon with more respect as we have shown what we are capable of.
  3. His Remarkable Humility-I call it remarkable because Rahman has handled this with such maturity and selflessness that he attributes his success to others like his mother, his Indian musicians etc. He lovingly in a child-like manner acknowledges the role these people have played in his success.
  4. His Respect for his Peers-I have always seen Rahman praising his fellow composers generously. In an interview after his return, he said (answering a question), even Ilaiyaraja sir can definitely get an Oscar easily if the music is promoted well as it was done by Fox Pictures for Slumdog Millionaire. He also said, Raja sir’s music is of an international standard from the earlier days as Raja sir has composed symphonies.
  5. His Equanimity and Patience-Rahman has kept his feet firmly in the ground as he has not been swayed by his euphoric success. Also, I do not know how many interviews he has been giving after his arrival-I pity him, as he must be a tired man. But he has patiently answered the sometimes repetitive questions asked to him.
  6. His Social Interests-Rahman is a UN ambassador for the campaign fighting against poverty and he has associated himself with many social causes. Just read his thoughts here while answering this question-Are you surprised by what all you have achieved? When you look back as a nine-year-old child, and look at what you have done today?
    A R Rahman: Well, I have not achieved anything. I have not ended poverty level. I have not stopped wars happening. These are achievement. And in my opinion, I am just a very small musician who has got an award that is it.
  7. His Service to Music-Last but not the least, Rahman has done what no other music director has done for the cause of music-starting a music school, the KM MUSIC CONSERVATORY. His objective for starting this school is to make Indian musicians have a global orchestra of their own. This is such an innovative idea and Rahman is spending a lot of time, money and energy towards realizing this noble musical mission!

These are just my thoughts after seeing Rahman in the limelight for the past one week. My love and respect for him has increased manifold and I pray that he lives a long, healthy life to serve Indian music and he continues to transport us to another blissful, musical world!

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5 Responses to “Lessons from A.R.Rahman”

  1. Mohan March 7, 2009 at 6:41 am #

    Good post.

    The way Rahman handled the success till now is something that everyone can learn from. Many giants and talented artists have gone hayward with success.

    Discipline is the key! And Rahman himself has told several times that it is Raaja who is the role model for him as far as discipline and spirituality is concerned.

  2. Prakash Srinivasan March 7, 2009 at 10:11 am #

    Thanks MJ for your kind comment. I was so happy to read that ARR said MSV sir, IR are people who deserved Oscars! His humility has taken him to great heights.

  3. Vinith March 10, 2009 at 3:42 am #

    Good post!

    His speech was great (though i missed it). He said that “Had IR’s music been taken in the right direction, he would have won Oscars long ago”. A honest comment from him… Of course, he is know for his humbleness. Every young music director must learn this from him.

  4. Prakash Srinivasan March 10, 2009 at 8:15 am #

    Vinith, ARR’s speech is available here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5dnV-BGksQ
    All the videos from the program are here http://www.youtube.com/user/arrahmanworld

  5. krishna March 30, 2009 at 6:35 am #

    Yes the article is a very informative one..tuely AR Rahman is a great PERSON apart from being a great MUSICIAN and that is his greatness. truly he is the pride of India and the world.

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